Friday, September 16, 2011

Crisis Scenario Discussion: What would you do if your teacher is accused of molesting one of the children

Scenario

You receive a complaint from a mother that her son had been sexually abused while at the pre-school you manage.  From your industry sources, you know that the mother had made a similar false claim in the past.  The police are investigating the complaint.  What would you do?

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My first step is to do a Stakeholder Analysis to identify the major Stakeholders and their Issues/ Concerns.  It is only after I have done this, do I then develop the appropriate message (including actions) to address them.

In this scenario, there are two major stakeholders - the parents of the other children who would be concerned about the safety of their child, and the teachers who would be concerned that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. Thus, in my opinion, the appropriate response would be to issue a statement (a) acknowledging that a complaint has been received; (b) that the school places a high premium on the safety of the children under its charge; (c) that the school is helping authorities investigate the allegations; and (d) additional measures would be instituted to ensure the continued safety of the children until investigations are completed.

Essentially, I would go public with the allegation as we now operate in a "perfect information environment" and it is only a matter of time before the public finds out. Being proactive then enables the school to frame the issue and gain the information initiative.

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Do you agree or disagree with my proposed response?  Do share your thoughts.

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